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Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Opus 2019-090: College Replacement Exams, Part 1 of 2

Maybe it is time to totally reject the modern idea of a college education and our university system.  Actually there is no “maybe” about it.  The recent addition of an “Adversity Score” to the SAT testing should be the final nail in the coffin of “advanced” education.  Add that to such majors as “Gender Studies”, the classes on diversity training, coed dorms and totally left wing professors and you come up with the question of “Who needs them?”

In the interests of destroying excellence and making America mediocre, the left has pushed the idea that everyone should go to college.  I taught in middle school for almost 30 years and the mantra was that everyone needed and deserved a college education.  It doesn’t really matter that most people are not qualified.  The sad result is that the standards have been reduced so that everyone can feel good about what they are doing.  There was a day when a high school diploma meant something and a college degree was a mark of achievement.  No longer.  Now everyone graduates, thus making the honor meaningless.

So how could we deal with the need for quality doctors, top notch engineers and trained scientists?  We think we need them to have a government endorsed degree or attain a government license.  Not really.  Let the free marketplace take care of the qualifications.  Remember the mark on appliances, UL approved?  Remember the Good Housekeeping seal of approval?  Remember that the AAA sign on a motel used to mean something?  We need to expect people to be responsible for their own choices and the results.  Caveat emptor. 

I don’t need the government to tell me a barber is licensed.  If he gives me a bad haircut, I won’t go back.  I don’t need the city to tell me if a restaurant has a clean kitchen.  I don’t need the government requiring me to wear a seat belt.  I am a big boy.

So how do we get the qualified people we need.

To be continued....

homo unius libri

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Opus 2019-089: Election 2020: Hugs

I am not a hugger.  I guess I was.  My mother used to say I was quite the hugger until I was around ten years old.  I don’t remember that but I will take her word for it. 

In spite of not being a hugger, I know how to hug.  I have no problem with hugging family and I have learned that some close friends are huggers.  I deal with it.  When I get introduced to some people and they get that look in their eye, I will ask them, “Are you a hugger?”  If they are I go ahead and join in the ritual, but I avoid it if I can.  Germs, you know.

So when Joe Biden says he came from an affectionate family, I can accept that.  You have seen them.  If it moves they hug it, unless it moves fast enough.  If it doesn’t move, they hug it anyway.  That may be how tree huggers got started.  He could be simply a hugger but he is also a fool.  Many people do not want to be hugged.  Many children do not feel comfortable with strangers touching them.  Many adults don’t want strange men touching their little girls.  If he would simply accept that and modify his behavior I could deal with it. 

His ideas and foot in the mouth scorched earth comments are another issue.  That is a serious defect that disqualifies him from the presidency in my opinion.  I think we should focus on his left wing ideology rather than his huginess.

homo unius libri

Opus 2019-088: Headlines: Congressional Investigations

Why is congress investigating Donald Trump Jr. and not Hunter Biden?

homo unius libri

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Opus 2019-087: Term Limits

One of the complaints we have about our political leaders is that they become career politicians and have not sense of who we are as a people.  They live in their beltway bubble and only come out to campaign.  Look at people like Joe Biden who has been in political offices for 50 years.  That doesn’t leave a lot of time to have worked a real job.  One of the reasons people in power don’t like Donald Trump is that he has been forced to meet a payroll and produce results.  He does not have the mindset of career politicians.  He does not fit in.

One of the solutions to this is term limits.  Term limits is legislation that limits the number of times a person can be elected to an office.  The only such limit in the Constitution has to do with president and that was not in the original document.  It was added in the 22nd Amendment as a response to the four terms of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  His long run put people in fear of a popular president setting himself up for life as has happened so often in the world.  America has not wanted a king, at least in the past.

The Founding Fathers were not big fans of term limits.  If they had been then we would see it in the Constitution.  They seemed to feel that the arbitrators of length of service should be the voters.  They deliberately made it easy to vote out members of the House of Representative by having them all run for reelection every two years.  Since they were the authors of spending bills this made it easy for people to get rid of them and find a replacement.  The Senate, on the other hand, served for six years.  It was supposed to give them time to deliberate and not be so sensitive to the emotions of the people.  The Senate was originally elected by the state legislators which further isolated them from the fickle nature of the masses.  But there were no term limits.

Keep in mind that term limits work both ways.  It gets rid of dead weight but also dumps people who are doing a good job and have the experience to get things done.  Usually we have different people we want thrown out, depending on our political party.

At present I am against term limits.  Members of Congress are elected to represent the people they serve.  If the people don’t like them then vote the suckers out.  The fact that most people are not paying attention is no excuse.  As much as I would like to see Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer depart the scene, that is up to the people who elected them, not me or my cronies. 

The answer to the fools in Congress is to have fewer fools in the ballot box.  That means more discussion in the public square by you and me.  That means educating ourselves and plugging along.  That is why Face Book, Twitter and Google are so set on driving conservative voices out of the public conversation.

Keep talking while you have a chance.

homo unius libri

Friday, May 17, 2019

Opus 2019-086: Baby Talk: Skill Sets

I am developing my one hand skills.  It only requires one arm to hold a baby, but surely there is something you can do with the other.

Have you ever tried to blow your nose with one hand?  For that matter have you ever had trouble getting a tissue out of a resistant box with only one hand?  This is something that we don’t think about a lot.  Try to use a can opener with one hand.  How about tying your shoes?  The list goes on and holding a baby forces you to grow.

Of course some of us have trouble doing some of these things with two hands. 

homo unius libri

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Opus 2019-085: Election 2020: The Mud Settles More in the Water

The lust to destroy Western culture is in the process of removing another hurdle from the race.  The Progressives are experts at getting the camel’s nose under the tent using the American desire to be fair.  They then keep pushing, redefining the terms, moving the goal posts until they reach the point of cutting off the head that offends them.

It seems to me that another milestone has been reached as we see women’s sports being destroyed.  I refer to the growing trend to allow “transgenders”, men claiming to be female, to compete as women in women’s sports.  We now even see the leader of the culture smashers, Nancy Pelosi, introducing legislation at the federal level to add these people to the list of those protected against discrimination.  These are the people who brought you the spectacle of men walking into women’s bathroom, boys taking showers in the girls locker rooms and the removal of gender pronouns from textbooks. 

It starts with a claim to treat all people equally.  The Declaration of Independence has that concept but the Founding Fathers expected it to be applied with a little common sense and a common sense of morality.  It makes sense that if a boy is racing his hot rod against a lady in her souped up racer that both would get the same speeding ticket and fines.  It does not make sense to allow a testosterone loaded guy to put on a wig and win a wrestling competition against someone with estrogen conditioned muscles.  Not only does it not make sense, it is stupid.  Not only is it stupid, it is evil.  Yet that is where the Democrats (Liberals, Progressives, Communists, Rinos, elites) are at. 

And they keep coming.

If you are one of those people who has been intimidated into perpetual silence as this attack against our culture goes on then enjoy the world your fear is building.  The attack based on gender differences is just one prong.  Eventually these people will get to where you live.

Elections matter.  Values matter.  Morals matter. 

homo unius libri

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Opus 2019-084: On the Street: False Advertising

It is hard to go through the blogs on the internet without constantly being barraged by guys trying to raise their viewer stats by posting pictures of babes.  One I appreciate is Theo Spark.  I think he has the pictures but he forces you to click on a link and draws you with words like “skin”, “topless” and “nipples”.  I appreciate the fact that the site allows me to decide whether I want to go voyeur or keep my mind out of the gutter. 

For some reason my thoughts went to a major source of revenue for governments.  The pictures I have seen make me think that we could generate a lot of money if we put a special tax on silicon.  I am not saying that these ladies are a bit out of balance but I somehow think that a lot of what they are showing off is false advertising.  It is kind of like making a large soft drink by adding water to a medium.

In Japan many of the restaurants will have pictures of the items up for sale.  Some even make up plastic models that look very real.  Rarely did the actual product live up to the hype.

homo unius libri

Friday, May 10, 2019

Opus 2019-083: Headlines: How Dare You

When you travel you pass through points of broadcast but don’t always get the whole story.  Since it is questionable that the Fake News and Semi-Fake news outlets ever had the whole story you can imagine how little we really know.

Most of us have heard about the fire at Notre Dame cathedral.  You may have heard about how the pledges and donations are pouring in to the tune of a billion dollars.  I find that encouraging.  There are people in the world who are willing to do what they can to restore a world, historical and spiritual landmark. 

Then things get murky.  It seems that the “yellow vests” of Paris are not happy about all this generosity.  They seem to be upset that people are giving their own money to support their own concerns and none of it is being syphoned off by the government to the people in yellow vests.  Here is where it gets into the Land of the Fake.  How much of what we are hearing is true or even half-truth? 

I have not taken a position on the yellow vest protestors.  It is a French thing.  I do know I have expressed the point that people who protest this way are not so much against high taxes as they are against any kind of demand that they pay their way.  I would say that if they are really angry that people are giving to rebuild the church then they are simply snowflakes in yellow vests.  We know that we are to be leery of yellow snow.  Maybe the same goes for yellow vests. 

Why do people want to donate to rebuild the cathedral?  There could be many reasons but a big one for a Frenchman is insurance.  Keep in mind that the French are culturally and historically Roman Catholic but they don’t go to church much.  They like to have it there in case there is an emergency.  They make big donations because they believe it will make a difference.  Historically we would call them indulgences.  When I was young it was demonstrated in a movie called Lilies of the Field.  The main character played by Sidney Poitier was asking a businessman why he had donated a big item in rebuilding the local church.  The business man had already said he did not believe the religious stuff.  His reason, “Insurance”.  If you believe in hell you could call it fire insurance.

I hope they get the damage repaired without any tax money involved.  I won’t be donating but I wish them well.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Opus 2019-082: Firsts: Japanese Trains

When you travel by airplane local transportation is always an issue.  If you are going to a small English town and staying at a bed and breakfast with a lot of hiking trails around, all you need is a pair of good shoes.  In rural Japan where we will end up you need a car to get anywhere because of distances.  In Tokyo it seems that you follow the old, “When in Rome...” mantra because most people here get around on trains. 

In Tokyo there are trains everywhere and to everywhere.  They run on time.  The stations are clean with all kinds of maps and aids to reaching destinations.  It is a system that works if you like that kind of thing.  Tokyo is a big city in area as well as population.  In Boston, where I lived for three years, the population was not large but the area was small so mass transit worked well.  In Los Angeles you have an area larger than Tokyo with a large population but I can’t see mass transit working as it does in Japan.  The Japanese seem to thrive on the situation. 

In American subway systems you have masses of people crowding on the platforms.  When the train pulls in it is a winner takes all kind of attitude.  Not so in Tokyo.  When you come into the station you see people quietly lined up and waiting patiently.  They have arrows on the floor and labels for feet where the first person lines up.  Others patiently line up behind.  When the train pulls up they wait for people to get off and then file on without pushing or shoving.  The Japanese are a very orderly bunch, at least on the metro. 

Signs are usually in four languages: Japanese, Chinese, Korean and English.  On some lines they make announcements in English.  It is designed for large groups of foreign travelers.

You still have to do a lot of walking.  At the end of the day we are feeling it.  Or it could just be that I am getting old and am out of shape.  Or it could be both.

homo unius libri

Monday, May 6, 2019

Opus 2019-081: Election 2020, Looking Good

I don’t know what Joe Biden is taking but I think I want some.  Lest you think I have totally gone around the bend, I am not talking about what he has to say.  My default on my computer is to have the sound turned off, so I don’t know what he is talking about.  I am not sure he knows either but that is another issue.

I am talking about the Fountain of Youth that he seems to have found.  I don’t have any idea if it is a face lift, botox, an Academy Award make up man or a sudden commitment to clean living.  The man could be mistaken for his grandson. 

It tells us some things.  One, it tells us he is serious about running for president.  Often you hear that one way to judge whether someone is going for it is to watch and see if they lose weight.  With Biden it took the form of a youth pill.  Another thing it tells us is his ego is alive.  When I look in a store window I wonder who the old man is.  The question has never driven me to color my hair or buy news clothes.  Nothing will make me younger.  Evidently Biden feels different.

The critics have talked about his behavior being creepy.  That may be true but I can see that his youthful glow makes him look that way.  No matter what he does he is still an old, white dude.  That is not a problem in my book.  The problem is that he still has old, Democrat ideas.

The primaries are almost on us.  Time to wake up and smell the botox.

homo unius libri

Opus 2019-080: Principles and Promises

If I were ever foolish enough to run for elected office I would make sure that my campaign was based on principles and not promises.  One of the current hot topics is immigration.  A promise to close the border is almost impossible to achieve.  Saying that we should build the wall shows where your heart is.  Saying abortion is wrong is not the same as promising to make it illegal. 

One of the problems with campaign promises is that there is often a lot you don’t know about an issue.  Suppose I was running for city council in San Francisco.  If I were making promises I would claim that I would rid the streets of feces.  Since it is a constantly renewable resource, that would really be impossible.  Instead I would say that I believe the streets could be much cleaner than they are.  Press me and I would give more principles but when any one of the city workers’ unions could put a veto to a program, details would be useless.

We need to focus on principles.  I realize that it is not an instant cure.  Promising “transparency” in government didn’t do much to make things clear.  Like any move to improve our lives and our country it requires constant attention by individual citizens.  Sometimes that will involve being the one who calls “foul” and other times simply supporting that prophet.  It has been a long time since I read “The Kings New Clothes” but if I remember correctly it was not the child calling out the king was naked that embarrassed the king.  It was the adults that were shaken out of their stupor, looked at each other and saw the truth in other eyes.  That was the moment things began to change.

So even if you can’t be the child, be the adult.  Look for opportunities to stand on principle.  You and I may disagree on when life begins but we can agree that killing innocent children is not the answer to pregnancy.

At least I hope we can.

homo unius libri

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Opus 2019-079: Dating Game

One of the strange things about traveling half way around the world is posting on one day and seeing it dated by Blogger the day before.  It is something that plays with your head.

I should have expected it.  When we would connect from Texas to Japan we had to get used to the idea that it might be a different day.  Generally I would ignore the day an just concentrate on the time.  If it was 5:00 P.M. in Texas then it was going to be somewhere in the 5:00 A.M. stretch in Japan.  If you cared it was the next day there but generally I did not pay that much attention to detail.

I am used to looking for certain things on certain days.  For instance Stilton’s Place posted on Monday, Wednesday, Friday.  In Japan it comes on different days.  Power Line has “The Week in Pictures” on Saturday morning.  Not on Saturday morning in Japan.

You learn to adjust.  When I get home I will need to unadjust.

homo unius libri

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Opus 2019-078: Firsts: Air Raid

To you it would have been just another headline.  Rocket Man launched another missile.  Ho, Hum.  The news article said it was short range, meaning a maximum of 120 miles.  I wonder what’s for dinner.

It is a little different when you are on an Air Force base in Japan.  Suddenly the speakers start blaring something about “Real World!  Incoming missile!”  It definitely gets your attention.  Or it would have if they had repeated it a few times.  Our first real clue about what was in the announcement was when the playground across the street suddenly emptied.  There wasn’t much that could be done.  We closed the windows and pulled the shades.  I found out that the best source of information was Facebook.

Although most of the posters were just as confused as we were, we at least knew that something was up.  It was also the first place we knew that there was an “all clear”.  At last Facebook has a reason to exist.  One comment also directed us to a news article about the launch on the internet.  It was a great illustration of government efficiency.  The news article was posted an hour before the alert.  By the time we were told to duck, the missile had been in the ocean for 40 minutes. 

It was an interesting day.  It was a good reminder of what our military and their families go through around the world.

homo unius libri

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Opus 2019-077: Firsts: Anonymous

One of the adventures of travel is trying new foods.  In Japan there is usually an English subtitle or special menu for foreigners.  Sometimes you have to ask but it is there somewhere.  Of course part of the adventure is trying mystery foods.  Yesterday after coming back from a sushi restaurant we stopped at Family Mart. 

In Japan there are three large chains of stores for a quick bite: Seven-Eleven, Lawson Station and Family Mart.  They are all similar to a 7/11 in the states with different specialties.  For the 100 yen snack crowd it is Family Mart.  One reason I like it is the selection.  The other reason is that they have more frequent English sub titles.  You need to stay alert.  My son showed me one that I thought said cheese-somethings.  He told me to look again and it was cheese-fish-somethings.  I thought I had learned the lesson last time I was here when I went to Mr. Donut and picked out what looked like a cream filled pastry.  The first bite told me that the filling was creamed fish.  Surprise!  Surprise! 

Many of the things you buy only give you a cute picture.  We got what we thought was a lemon meringue cream puff.  All the label told us was “Happy Taste”.  It was not what we expected.  We are not sure what it was.  It was good, but a mystery. 

We went to the Cherry Blossom Festival.  The blooms were beautiful.  At night they had them lit up so the entire park glowed and the glow was often reflected in pools and moats.  The second attraction was the food stalls.  It was like going to the state fair and everyone with a rice cooker showed up.  We tried all kinds of things.  Some we really enjoyed.  Some were one bite wonders. 
If you are really bored you can find McDonald’s on occasion but don’t count on the menu being the same. 

I had a lot of firsts but I don’t know what they were.

homo unius libri